Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2005/05/26

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Subject: [Leica] P 51 Flight time reminder. :-)
From: feli2 at (Feli)
Date: Thu May 26 00:27:32 2005
References: <> <004501c5576f$7992b010$1ae76c18@ted> <> <001901c561b5$48f8ffe0$1ae76c18@ted> <>

When I was about 12 or 13 I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer. I 
built kites, gliders and model rockets, which I flew in the park, 
across from our house. 'Flew' is a big word. Most of my contraptions 
experienced an early death, as they disintegrated on impact or were 
eaten by 'the evil tree'. I saved my pfennig and purchased my first 
model kit from Airfix, a Spitfire Mk 1.

One day I read a blip somewhere that the first fully restored, original 
Me-109 (White One?), was coming to town for a show. This was not a 
Spanish/ Merlin engined job, but the real Daimler powered deal.

I talked my dad in to taking me and we biked to the airfield, just 
outside of Munich. There was quite a crowd and I spotted the tip of the 
propellor blade through the cracked open hangar doors. The plane was 
rolled out and the pilot fired up the engine. He taxied down the runway 
and took off. We watched him make a wide turn and then he headed right 
for us. A few moments later the plane came screaming across the field 
in a low level pass. I don't know if there were any safety regulations 
back then, but this guy made sure you got your money's worth. The noise 
was spectacular and loud enough to rattle the fillings out of your 

Now, keep in mind that I was about 12 or 13 and a member of the last 
pre-MTV/Nintendo generation. We lived in a quiet, middle class 
neighborhood, didn't have a color TV (there was nothing on anyway, 
except for the Friday movie, which were mostly black and white) and the 
biggest thrills around was us blowing up firecrackers or getting a 
bicycle. Girls were just starting to appear on our event horizon. I was 
that stereo typical kid with the pocket knife, roll of twine and other 
junk in his pockets.

Anyhow, I simply froze stiff with eyes the size of saucers and my jaw 
dropped to the floor, as this thing rocketed up into the sky. The whole 
event made quite an impression on me and if I close my eyes I can still 
see and hear it clearly.

I pursued my aeronautical goals for a good while after that. But as 
time went by, the world changed. The Cold War ended and the aeronautics 
companies shrunk, the space program in the US was cut and after I 
realized that these pretty planes dropped bombs that actually killed 
people, I had second thoughts about the whole thing altogether.

Around that time my friend's dad bought a Super8 camera and we screened 
a few home movies he had made of us. Shortly after that, and fully 
unaware of the consequences it would have, my mother innocently took me 
to a screening of Lawrence of Arabia. It was the first movie I had ever 
seen in a theater and it was all downhill from there on.

But I still get all starry eyed when I see one of those old war birds 
cutting across the sky.


On May 25, 2005, at 11:15 PM, Gerry Walden wrote:

> It brought a tear to more than one persons eye on VE Day here in 
> Southampton when there was a fly-past of a couple of Spitfires, a 
> Hurricane, a Seafire, a Mustang,  a Lancaster bomber  and a couple of 
> others. They always look great but unfortunately the Flying Fortress 
> was grounded and we had to manage without, although I saw it here last 
> year.
> I was born at the end of Southampton Airport runway in 1945, and 
> Southampton was the birthplace of the Spitfire. I can remember, as a 
> very small child, being stood on the back of a bench so that I could 
> see over a hedge into the airfield (grass runway then) and look at the 
> row after row of 'redundant' Spitfires etc. parked there waiting for 
> their next assignment. Thank God for us that next assignment never 
> came, and most were scrapped (it was no coincidence that the Ford car 
> plant ws there too!) It is a memory that I will never forget. I have 
> added a couple of images at Leica Album 
> <> but I am afraid that they 
> are not shot with a Leica, nor are they that great.
> Gerry
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